How to Write the Perfect Resume Title or Headline

Feb 6, 2020

Written by Caitlin Proctor

Written by Caitlin Proctor

Career Expert, ZipJob

An average of 250 resumes are sent for a single opening. See how Zipjob uses professional writers and technology to get your resume noticed.

Your resume headline is the first thing you should list under your name and contact information. It’s different from your job title: this is an opportunity to introduce your professional self in a snappy line or two of attention-grabbing, high-relevance, keyword-optimized text.

The perfect resume title (also referred to as a resume headline) should make the perfect first impression. Most people don’t include one, so it can be really effective if you use the right headline. It will resonate and set you apart from the competition.

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What is a resume headline, exactly?

A resume title or headline is a short statement on your resume that includes some core skills or achievements. Your resume title should be a short introduction of your professional self. Usually used to headline the resume summary, it is a condensed one-liner that sums up who you are and where you’ve succeeded.

What is a Resume Title

It would usually be centered and located above your resume summary.

Resume headline example

The goal of a resume headline is to sum up your skills and experience into a short phrase that will stand out and show the potential employer exactly what you have to offer.

It also allows you to list relevant or required certification and licenses. This quickly tells the employer that you’re qualified for the position.

Resume title examples by industry.

Okay, you get it, your resume title is super important. When it comes to formatting, we highly suggest using something similar to our example above. But, what about the wording?

Here are a bunch of examples of effective resume titles from our professional resume writers, organized by industry:

Sales

  • Top Ranked Sales Manager with 7 years’ experience
  • Bilingual Sales Professional with Experience in Management
  • Sales Executive with Experience in Technology Industry
  • Customer Service Rep, Extensive Healthcare Experience

Technology

  • Java Engineer with 5 years Full Stack Experience
  • Full Stack Web Developer with Management Experience
  • Developer and Project Manager with Leadership Experience

Finance

  • Portfolio Manager with Fortune 500 Experience
  • Financial Adviser with Proven Track Record
  • Bank Operations Expert with 10 years’ Experience

Engineering

  • Dedicated Civil Engineer Skilled in all Phases of Engineering Operations
  • Passionate Automotive Engineer with Design Expertise
  • Highly Efficient Chief Engineer for Large-Scale Residential Properties
  • Creative Entry-Level Engineer Providing Insightful Support

Nursing

  • Emergency Room Nurse with Experience in Urgent and High Volume settings
  • Registered Nurse with Experience Caring for Wide Variety of Diverse Patients
  • Certified Nursing Assistant with 7 years’ Experience Caring for Elderly

Trade Worker

  • Welding Specialist with Extensive Experience using Torch, Plasma and Stick Weld
  • Warehouse Product Coordinator with 10 Years’ Experience
  • Security Guard on High Alert, Maintaining Consistently Excellent Coverage

Marketing

  • Experienced Marketing Manager Specializing in Non-Profit Industry
  • Marketing Specialist with 10 years’ experience in Cosmetics

Arts

  • Graphic Designer with Massive Client Base and Beautiful Portfolio
  • Art Therapist with 8 years combined Experience
  • Artists with 3 Years of Acknowledged Experience Including Gallery Features

Accounting

  • Certified Public Accountant with 9′ years Experience in Auditing
  • Flexible Accountant who Adapts to Evolving Accounting Best Practices
  • CPA with 3′ years experience in budget forecasting and tax planning

What makes the resume headline so effective?

The resume title is really important for three reasons.

1. It’s the first thing a potential employer will see

Though located after your name and your contact info, the resume headline is the first thing that describes your fit for the job. The average hiring manager spends about six seconds scanning your resume. The best way to control what they see is to lay out your resume correctly. This means using resume headers and sections correctly. No header is more important than the very first one.

To put it bluntly, if hiring managers love the title, it’s way more likely they will read on. If the title is bland or missing, you’ve missed this opportunity to stand out from the crowd. The crowd doesn’t land the interview: the individuals do!

Look at the following two headers.

This is a very well-constructed resume title with awesome keyword usage that really sends a strong message:

resume title example

Compare the above example with this, a lazy and short resume title that does nothing more than simply name a previous title:

resume title bad example

As you can see, it’s possible to be short and concise while still conveying a robust message. By simply putting the name of a single position, you are limiting yourself in the scope of employment opportunities you can seek out.

Remember, the job market is ever-changing. You want to present yourself as dynamic and multi-talented. By introducing yourself as a professional with a larger scope of expertise, you will open countless more doors.

2. It will help your resume get past applicant tracking systems

resume title to get past ats

Due to the huge number of applicants in the modern job market, the vast majority of companies use ATS to scan resumes before they reach a hiring manager.

Applicant Tracking Systems scan for keywords, often parsing a resume using its headers. Since the ATS is so prevalent these days, it’s incredibly important to tailor your resume to pass the systems.

That’s where your awesome resume title will help you. If formatted correctly, the ATS will be able to read your headers and present your relevant keywords to the hiring manager. Which brings us to the next key point.

3. It is a great place to use keywords

Using keywords effectively in your resume title will hugely increase your chances of landing an interview.  Let’s take another look at the awesome resume header we saw above:

resume title example

This time, think about all the keywords present in this resume title. As you may have guessed, the words used in the title should always match the words used in the job description. This title would be great for multiple job descriptions from “Full stack web developer” to “project manager.”

If you plan on sending out dozens of quick-fire applications, this is your best bet. Similarly, if you are posting your resume online or submitting it as anything another than a response to an open job, you might want to stay broad.

However, if you are targeting a very specific listing, you want to change your approach slightly.

Instead of including an array of words that may fit the array of opportunities you are seeking, scan the job listing and change your resume title accordingly. If the listing puts a big emphasis on project management, be sure to add that to the title. If it focuses on communication, put that up there.

You don’t want to miss an opportunity because you didn’t tailor your resume to pass the applicant tracking system.

Summary

Your resume title will be the thing that first catches the hiring manager’s eye. So, make sure it’s amazing! Follow our basic principles, take a look at some of the examples and you should have a great idea of what it takes to really stand out.

Check ATS compatibility

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An average of 250 resumes are sent for a single opening. See how Zipjob uses professional writers and technology to get your resume noticed.

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